Do you have an intense fear of animals, heights, blood, injections, planes? Would you rather climb ten flights than to get into a lift? If so, you may be suffering from a phobia.
All people have fears or situations they would rather avoid. It's part of everyday life. Some people are frightened by job interviews. Others are uncomfortable to be home alone at night. Most people manage to control their fears and go about their normal activities.
But for some people, anxieties and fears are overwhelming and persistent. Normal coping mechanisms don't work, and the need to avoid the objects or situations that cause anxiety can be so intense that they drastically interfere with daily life. Sometimes people may make important career or personal decisions to avoid a phobic situation. Others may refuse to go to the doctor for fear of having blood drawn.
Phobias aren’t just extreme fear, they are irrational fear. Adults with phobias realise their fears are irrational, but often facing, or even thinking about facing, the feared object or situation brings on a panic attack or severe anxiety.
Phobias often begin in childhood or adolescence, but many adults find that their lives are impaired by phobic symptoms. Many phobias are more common in women, but some (e.g. fear of blood) are more common in men.Categories of phobias
What causes phobias?
Scientists are learning more about the particular brain regions that are involved in phobic fears. Phobias are thought to be caused by a combination of biological factors and life events, much in the way other disorders (such as diabetes or heart disease) are influenced by a person's genes and lifestyle.
Phobias are divided into three broad categories: specific phobia (which used to be called "simple" or "single" phobia), social phobia/social anxiety disorder, and agoraphobia, depending on what triggers the fear and how the individual reacts to the dreaded object or situation ... Read more